1: Getting better at getting better is what RiseWithDrew is all about.

Monday through Thursday, we explore ideas from authors, thought leaders, and exemplary organizations. On Friday, I share something about myself or what we are working on at PCI.

This week we’ve been exploring ideas and lessons around becoming a better negotiator from Chris Voss, the FBI’s lead hostage negotiator, and his book Never Split the Difference.

The key takeaway for me is that these lessons not only strengthen our ability to negotiate.  

They also improve our ability to communicate effectively.

With everyone we interact with.

2: We can certainly apply these insights in our professional lives. But their impact may be even more significant in our personal lives. With the people we love and care about. Because these skills are essential to creating trust and building deeper relationships.

The FBI’s approach to negotiation is based on psychology, counseling, and crisis intervention. Chris writes: “We became experts in empathy.”

These strategies help calm people down, establish rapport, and build trust. Which are valuable tools for living everyday life.

Especially when there is conflict. And conflict is inevitable. We need to be able to engage in conflict without damaging the relationship.  

The academic approach to conflict emphasizes rational problem-solving. The goal is to remove emotion. “Separate the people from the problem” is a standard recommendation.

The only problem with that? How do we separate people from the problem when emotions are the problem?  

3: The FBI takes an entirely different approach. Emotions and emotional intelligence are “central to effective negotiation, not things to overcome,” Chris writes.

We begin with an understanding that people want to be understood and accepted.

And how do we do that?  

We start by listening. “Listening is not a passive activity,” Chris believes. “It is the most active thing one can do.”

Because when we listen intensely, we demonstrate empathy and show a sincere desire to understand better what the other person is experiencing.

More next week!


Reflection: The next time there is conflict, how might I focus on listening rather than trying to get my way?

Action: Discuss with my spouse, a friend, or a colleague.

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